When I first received my review version of the new 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display, I was worried that reviewing it so soon after I checked out the 15” version would be, as Yogi Berra said so eloquently “Déjà vu all over again”.
The 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display is not simply a smaller version of the 15” model. It is a different version, with technical specs that are a bit scaled down than those of the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display. This doesn’t mean it’s any less of a great computer than the larger 15″ version – it’s smaller, lighter, almost as good – and considerably cheaper.
The basic model comes with a 2.5GHz dual core Intel i5 processor with a turbo boost to up to 3.1GHz. It comes with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Graphics 4000 card and a 125GB of flash storage. It’s priced at $1699.00 CAD. The second variant of the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display comes with the same processor and basic RAM configuration, along with the same graphics card. The difference is the 256GB flash memory, and it costs $1999.00 CAD. Both are configurable to a 2.9GHz dual core Intel i7 processor with turbo boost to 3.6GHz for an additional cost. Buyers can also configure the computer with additional flash storage of either 512GB or 768GB – also for an additional cost.
The 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display is only 1.9cm H x 31.4cm W x 21.9cm D and weighs a scant 1.62kg. That’s .1cm thicker than the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the same thickness as the thick end of a MacBook Air.
It comes with a MagSafe 2 power port, two Thunderbolt ports, 2 USB 3 ports, an HDMI port, headphone port, and a SDXC card slot – but no Superdrive. It’s got a full-sized QWERTY backlit keyboard and a Multi-touch trackpad that supports gestures. The Wi-Fi onboard is 802.11n, with dual band, that’s also 802.11 a/b/g compatible.
Battery life in the MacBook Pro with Retina display offers up to 7 hours of wireless web surfing and up to 30 days of standby.
The resolution of the Retina display is 2560 x 1600 at 227 pixels per inch and has support for millions of colours.
The flash storage means the computer starts up very quickly and saving large files is much faster than on a traditional hard drive.
It’s a gorgeous computer.
The 13” MacBook Pro has long been the favourite among Apple notebook users with its combination of size, power and features making it unbeatable. It’s got more than enough power to run just about any application a user can have, plus the beautiful Retina display makes offers breathtaking clarity for working with photos or movies.
Not having a Superdrive might be a bit of a concern for some, but I can tell you that I’ve used a MacBook Air for years and have only rarely wished I had an onboard Superdrive. You can purchase an external drive if you really need it. The lack of an Ethernet port is a little vexing for me, because I connect my notebook to my home network, but the Wi-Fi makes that issue a bit less of one, and for under $30 I can buy a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter to solve any problems.
I really like the 13” version of the MacBook Pro with Retina display – smaller, lighter, just about as fast as its older brother, this notebook is bound to become hugely popular with consumers. Fit and finish is first class, and the solid unibody aluminum design makes for a notebook that feels and screams high quality.
PROS: Small size; lightweight, fantastic Retina display; flash storage is very fast; great value for what you get.
CONS: Flash storage, although faster than a traditional hard drive, is still expensive; no Superdrive; no Ethernet; no FireWire either.
TO SUM IT UP: The 13” MacBook Pro is the most popular computer Apple makes for a reason – it’s small, powerful, easily fits into a home network and is a piece of cake to put into a travel bag for road warriors. The MacBook Pro with Retina display take sit to a new level with a smaller, more lightweight chassis, the amazing Retina display and flash storage. The lack of a Superdrive may be a problem for some, but it’s technology that’s slowly dying out, so omitting it is a logical progression. If you’re looking for a new notebook with all the bells and whistles and Apple’s proven quality, then you owe it to yourself to check the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display out.